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Monday, March 7, 2011

Recipe Review from 2/28/11

A quiet week last week.  A couple of dishes made ahead of time on Sunday carried us well through the week for both lunches and suppers. 

Chickpea Chili   (Ckng Lght, March 2011)
This was my favorite of the week.  The directions seem complicated, but are actually pretty simple and can be easily simplified more.   For example, sauteing the squash may add some flavor, but why saute the squash separately when it can be cooked in all the flavorful juices in the pot?  Plus saves washing a pan and time futzing after work.  The nine hours listed seems generous, but if you're putting this on before work, and say you need an hour after work to change, set the table, etc, then it works out perfectly.   I also used brown basmati rice instead of couscous because of the dish that follows.  Make rice and couscous the day before to save time.

Total: 9 hours, 30 minutes
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup chili and 3/4 cup couscous)


    Photo from
  • 1  cup  dried chickpeas  (I used two cans of prepared chickpeas)
  • 2  quarts boiling water
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2  cups  chopped onion
  • 5  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  tablespoon  tomato paste
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  ground cumin
  • 1  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground turmeric
  • 2 1/2  cups  fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2  cup  water
  • 2/3  cup  sliced pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 1/2  cup  golden raisins
  • 1  (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and crushed
  • 4  cups  chopped peeled butternut squash
  • 1  cup  frozen green peas, thawed  (oops! forgot to toss them in...)
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6  cups  hot cooked couscous  (I used brown basmati rice
  • 8  lime wedges


1. Place chickpeas in a saucepan; add 2 quarts boiling water. Cover and let stand 1 hour; drain. Place beans in a 6-quart slow cooker.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in tomato paste and next 5 ingredients (through turmeric); sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add onion mixture to slow cooker. Add broth and next 4 ingredients (through tomatoes) to slow cooker; [Add squash to slow cooker] cover and cook on HIGH 8 hours.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add squash; saute 5 minutes. Add squash to slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 1 hour; Stir in peas. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve over couscous with lime wedges.

Beef and Broccoli Stirfy   (Ckng Lght, March 2011)
This is quick and easy.  Can be made quicker if you buy pre-chopped broccoli florets.  I didn't because I feed my hounds some of the stems for the roughage.  I didn't have any sherry on hand so I think I used some wine instead.  I also used brown basmati rice as I don't buy pre-packaged boil in a bag rice.  Do make sure every thing is mise en plaz - chopped and ready to go - before cooking begins because this does go quick once the beef hits the pan.

Total: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups beef mixture and 1/2 cup rice)


    Photo from
  • 2  (3 1/2-ounce) bags boil-in-bag long-grain white rice
  • 2  tablespoons  dry sherry, divided
  • 2  tablespoons  lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 1  pound  boneless sirloin steak, cut diagonally across grain into thin slices
  • 1/2  cup  lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1  tablespoon  cornstarch
  • 1  tablespoon  hoisin sauce
  • 1  teaspoon  Sriracha (hot chile sauce) or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2  tablespoons  canola oil, divided
  • 1  tablespoon  bottled ground fresh ginger
  • 2  teaspoons  minced garlic
  • 4  cups  prechopped broccoli florets
  • 1/4  cup  water
  • 1/3  cup  sliced green onions

1. Cook rice according to directions.

2. While rice cooks, combine 1 tablespoon sherry, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sugar, and beef. Stir together 1 tablespoon sherry, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, broth, cornstarch, hoisin, and Sriracha.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture; sauté 3 minutes or until browned. Remove beef from pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add ginger and garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broccoli and 1/4 cup water; cook 1 minute. Add onions; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture and beef mixture; cook 2 minutes or until beef is thoroughly heated and sauce is slightly thick. Serve beef mixture over rice.

White Pizza  (Ckng Lght, March 2011)
I opted to use my own pizza crust recipe for this dish; we bounce between two:  Michael Rhulman's from his Ratio book and Culinary in the Country's pizza dough recipe.  Culinary's is a whole wheat version.  Both are good.  I used Rhulman's for this one simply because the book was handy.  Made the dough in the morning before work, let it rise in the fridge during the day, and took it out right when I got home.  It needed to warm up for 1 1/2 hours before assembly.  It was still pretty chilly when I started assembly, and I had to give the dough some additional resting time as I rolled it out.  Popped it into the oven, and had one of the better laughs over a cooking mistake - I forgot to prick the crust so it billowed up into a big pillow!  Still, everything turned out in the end. 

Heating a cookie sheet in the oven before you put the pizza on it gives you a crisper crust.
Total: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 slices)

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  • 1  (10-ounce) Italian cheese-flavored thin pizza crust (such as Boboli)
  • 1  teaspoon  cornmeal
  • Cooking spray
  • 3  tablespoons  refrigerated pesto with basil (such as Buitoni)
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2  cup  part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2  cup  sliced small tomatoes (such as Campari tomatoes)
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/4  cup  small basil leaves
  • Crushed red pepper (optional)
1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Place a baking sheet in oven; heat for 10 minutes.

3. While baking sheet heats, place crust on another baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Lightly coat crust with cooking spray. Spread pesto evenly over crust, leaving a 1-inch border; sprinkle mozzarella evenly over pesto. Dollop ricotta, by teaspoonfuls, evenly over mozzarella. Slide crust onto preheated baking sheet, using a spatula as a guide. Broil 5 inches from heat for 5 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Remove from oven; top evenly with tomatoes, black pepper, and basil. Sprinkle with red pepper, if desired. Cut into 8 slices.

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